These soft gluten-free pumpkin cookies are light and cakey with a lovely pumpkin flavor. So good. And so easy!
If you love pumpkin baked goods you’ve probably had gluten-free pumpkin bread or gluten-free pumpkin muffins. But have you tried pumpkin cookies? If the answer is yes, you know that these cookies are soft, cake-like, and loaded with pumpkin spice flavor.
How to Make Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cookies
- Heat Oven. Turn the oven on before you mix the cookie dough. This gives the oven time to reach baking temperature while you measure and mix the dough.
- Prepare Baking Pans. Line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper. Parchment keeps the cookies from sticking to the pan and makes clean-up easy. If you don’t have parchment in the house, grease your cookie sheet lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
- Mix Batter. You’ll need two mixing bowls for this recipe. A small one for whisking the flour with the spices and leaveners and a large bowl for mixing the batter.
- Scoop Dough. A cookie scoop makes it easy to scoop this soft dough onto the baking sheet. Don’t own a cookie scoop? Use a tablespoon to drop the dough onto the pan.
- Bake. A pan of these cookies takes about 15 minutes to bake. Look for them to be puffy and set. If they look soft and wet, bake for another few minutes.
- Cool Cookies on the Pan. Let the cookies cool on the pan for about three minutes. This helps them to set up so they don’t break when you transfer them to a wire rack.
- Glaze. I like to finish these cookies with a simple vanilla glaze. Let the cookies cool completely before topping with the glaze or it will melt.
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cookies: Ingredients and Substitutions.
- All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour. A simple gluten-free flour blend gives the cookies a cake-like texture. Look for a blend that contains xanthan or guar gum. This ingredient helps the cookies hold their shape. If your blend doesn’t include it, whisk a 1/2 teaspoon into your flour blend.
- Canned Pumpkin. For the best results, use canned pumpkin. (Be sure it’s canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling.) The water content of canned pumpkin is standard. When these cookies are made with homemade pumpkin puree, they can turn out too soft because homemade pumpkin puree tends to contain more water. If you want to use homemade pumpkin puree, drain it through a cheesecloth to remove excess liquid before measuring and using.
- Granulated Sugar. Since pumpkin and brown sugar go so well together, I first tested the recipe with brown sugar. While the cookies were delicious, the texture was a bit too moist, thanks to the molasses in the brown sugar. Granulated sugar gives these cookies a lovely sweetness and helps them to have a cake-like texture.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice. A blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice, pumpkin pie spice gives the cookies a lovely “pumpkin” flavor. If you don’t keep this blend in the house, you can replace it with individual spices.
- Butter or a Butter-Replacement. Use room temperature (softened) butter in this recipe. If you’re dairy-free use a dairy-free butter stick.
- Egg. Helps hold the batter together and creates a soft cookie. This recipe hasn’t been tested with an egg-replacer.
How to Store and Freeze
How to Store
Once cooled, store these gluten-free pumpkin cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-5 days. Don’t store these cookies in the refrigerator. They dry out and the texture changes.
How to Freeze
Allow the cookies to cool completely. Place them into a freezer container. You can place a piece of parchment or waxed paper between the layers. Freeze for up to three months. Remove the cookies from the freezer and thaw at room temperature. Don’t thaw these cookies by placing them in the microwave or a warm oven. This causes the glaze to melt.
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cookies FAQs
What’s a replacement for the pumpkin spice blend?
Replace the pumpkin spice blend with one teaspoon of ground cinnamon and a half teaspoon of nutmeg.
Can I double this recipe?
This recipe makes a lot of dough. If you own a large stand mixer (4 1/2 quarts or larger), you can double this recipe. If you are mixing this recipe with a small mixer or a handheld mixer, I don’t recommend doubling.
Gluten-Free Soft Pumpkin Cookies
These soft gluten-free pumpkin cookies are light and cakey with a lovely pumpkin flavor. Finish them with a drizzle of vanilla icing. So good. And so easy!
For the Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cookies
- 2 ½ cups gluten-free all-purpose flour (12 ½ ounces; 370 grams)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin spice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar (8 ¾ ounces; 248 grams)
- ½ cup butter, softened (1 stick) (4 ounces; 113 grams)
- 1 large egg (about 2 ounces; 56 grams out of shell)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (8 ounces; 226 grams)
For the Vanilla Glaze
- 1 cup powdered sugar (4 ounces; 113 grams)
- 1 ½ tablespoons milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk together gluten-free flour, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin spice, and salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until combined. Stop mixer and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until light, about one minute.
Stop mixer. Add pumpkin puree and mix until combined. Add the flour mixture and blend on medium-low speed until a batter forms. Drop dough, about a tablespoon-each, onto prepared baking sheets.
Bake until set and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on the pan for about three minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.
For the Glaze. Once cookies are cool, make the glaze. Stir together powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla in a small bowl. If the glaze is too thick to drizzle over cookies, add ½ teaspoon additional milk. If the glaze is too thin (runny), add 1 tablespoon additional powdered sugar. Drizzle glaze over cookies.
Store cookies in an airtight container for up to four days or place in a freezer container and freeze for up to four months.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
Gluten-free All-Purpose Flour. This recipe was tested with Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour. Gluten-free flours vary greatly. For best results, use one that contains xanthan gum or whisk in a 1/2 teaspoon to the flour blend. Coconut and almond flours can’t be used in this recipe.
Pumpkin Spice. Replace the pumpkin spice blend with 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg. For the best flavor, be sure your spices are fresh.
Salt. I bake with table salt. It dissolves best in batters and gives an even flavor. If using kosher or a flaky salt, increase the salt to 1 teaspoon.
Granulated Sugar. I recommended using granulated (white) sugar in this recipe. Sugar replacements give very different results. If you decide to use one, know that the cookies might not turn out.
Butter. Dairy-free butter sticks can be used in place of the unsalted butter.
Egg. This recipe hasn’t been tested with an egg-replacer. Vanilla extract. If you don’t have vanilla extract, simply omit it from the recipe.
Pumpkin Puree. For the best results, use canned pumpkin. If you use homemade pumpkin puree, be sure to drain it very well or the cookie will turn out soft and gummy.
Milk. The glaze calls for a little milk. Replace this with a dairy-free milk or water.